Cheap glasses in Chicago?
January 20, 2012 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Cheap eyeglasses in person in Chicago?

Ms. Vegetable needs new glasses in Chicago. She wants to buy them in person this time - while her online experiences have been fine, she can't find ones she wants and will fit right now. Her current ones are getting a bit wobbly, too.

After some yelp research, Ms. Vegetable has found Eye Appeal Optical (, Solo Eye Care ( and Red Eye Optical ( as places with good reviews.

BUT: Will she be able to get a pair of glasses with frames, lenses, and anti-glare at any of these places for under $100? If not, where should she go? No vision insurance.
posted by a robot made out of meat to Shopping (8 answers total)
No, she's not going to be able to get a full pair of glasses with frames, lenses, and anti-glare (AR) coating for under $100 at any of those places. I can tell you that decisively, I've been to all three.

The only real chance at getting a complete pair of glasses at under $100 is at a chain like Visionworks or Pearle with a promo going on, and even that's pushing it. AR coating usually isn't included in promos, either, and often costs $20 or more per lens. Sometimes you can get "a pair of glasses for $99" but it won't include the AR coating, and usually includes your choice of one of, say, ten frames. None are very fashionable, to put it kindly.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Glasses aren't cheap.
posted by juniperesque at 7:34 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I get my glasses online from Warby Parker- I follow them on FB and Twitter and I remember them mentioning a showroom in Chicago, but now I can find nothing about it on their website.

If, for whatever reason, their Chicago showroom is a figment of my imagination or just not there anymore, you can pick five frames to do a free home try on services. This could be a viable option if you can't find anything in person. Their glasses are flat rate $95, free shipping, free returns. Also, my experience with their customer service has been great.

This is their website.

Good luck!
posted by shes_ajar at 8:07 AM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have you looked into For Eyes? They usually are 2 pairs for $99 but have a special going on, a complete pair for $29!!! I've gotten several pairs there. They tend to be pretty good quality and they have a decent selection of their frames that work for the deal. Several years ago I found some awesome horn-rimmed style glasses there that I got endless compliments on.
posted by jabes at 8:08 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not in Chicago, but in all my glasses buying adventures I have never found them for that cheap. I've found them close, but as has been mentioned, they were not at all fashionable. I've found that as I can literary buy a dozen pairs online at a place like Zenni for less than half the cost of a pair bought in-person, I often order a bunh of pairs online at once, hoping that I like all of them but that one pair turn out to be my perfect, everyday glasses. It's a numbers game.

From a friend who owns an optical shop, however, I can tell you that glasses have an almost unbelievable markup, so there is totally room for negotiation. You may have luck by going to a place where you have been a customer before, or by looking through your contacts and checking to see if you know someone with an "in" at a particular shop. Look for independent places where the owner and sales people will have more authority to move on the price.
posted by Nightman at 8:14 AM on January 20, 2012

Maybe check out Target? Last time I was there, I saw that they're doing optometry now (at least at the Uptown location on Lawrence, and there was some kind of deal. Sorry to be vague.
posted by dovesandstones at 10:46 AM on January 20, 2012

You might be able to save some money by just going for the lenses. Many lenses -- particularly with coatings -- will still be over that price threshold, but if she is able to either find a vintage pair she likes or maybe even some cute reading glasses, she may be able to take them in and get new lenses.

But that all depends on what shop you find.
posted by Madamina at 11:06 AM on January 20, 2012

Don't discount your local opticians. Mine runs a package for last season's/discontinued frames with lenses for $75. I picked up a lovely handmade black cat eye plastic frame in November. That means I can pop in on a whim and get my glasses adjusted a block away from where I live. Call around!
posted by joydivasian at 9:36 PM on January 20, 2012

Warby Parker [...] I remember them mentioning a showroom in Chicago, but now I can find nothing about it on their website.

The Portland Warby Parker "showroom"—which had been inside a clothing boutique, not a standalone shop or anything—disappeared a couple of weeks ago, too. It was still listed on the WP website at the time, but when Ms mumkin visited it to check out some frames, she left with the impression that whatever had happened to it, It Wasn't Something They Liked to Talk About. Fire up the rumor mill.

posted by mumkin at 9:46 PM on January 20, 2012

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